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Thu 3 Oct 2019 12:15 PM

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Groupon co-founder debuts US-based Surkus marketing platform in the UAE

Surkus gives consumers access to events in exchange for engagement

Groupon co-founder debuts US-based Surkus marketing platform in the UAE
Former Groupon co-founder and CEO of Surkus, Stephen George.

US-based experiential marketing platform Surkus has launched in the UAE and is looking for further expansion opportunities in the region, according to the firm’s CEO, former Groupon co-founder Stephen George.

First launched in Los Angeles in 2015, Surkus aims to reduce wasted ad spend by allowing consumers access to events – including live music, fitness classes, luxury dining experiences, wellness sessions and beauty treatments – through the app, in exchange for engagement tasks set forth by the business.

“We’re trying to connect brands with their ideal customer audience, and we’re leveraging the concept of experiences to deepen that connection,” George said in an interview with Arabian Business. “Typically, marketing channels focus on one specific way to engage someone. With Surkus, the goal is to give brands the opportunity to have a more engaging platform beyond one channel.”

According to George, businesses can benefit through physical attendance and customer social media engagement that is arranged through the app, which is checked in real-time to ensure that customers are fulfilling their end of the bargain.

On the consumer side, George described Surkus as a ‘discovery app’.

“Individuals are signing up because they’re looking for access to more events and more offers,” he said. “But behind every event and potential offer is a brand.”

Additionally, George said he believes that Surkus’ approach can potentially be more advantageous to brands than influencer marketing.

“An actual customer is creating the concept, so it’s more engaging and more trusted,” he said. “We’ve leveraged those types of actions to earn access and rewards.”

In the UAE, Surkus will be headquartered at Abu Dhabi’s new Hub71 startup ecosystem, from where George said the firm is examining opportunities in other nearby markets.

“We’re excited about getting things off the ground here now that we’re live,” he said. “And we are already looking at Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Lebanon.”

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